Dogma or Doom: The trouble with plans

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth

Mike Tyson

Plans are powerful, but only when we acknowledge that they are like all of us: flawed, works in progress.


The problems come when we assume a plan is perfect; when a plan becomes dogma.

When we plan, we’re imagining a set of circumstances in which we will operate. Unfortunately those circumstances are often a fiction.

We create plans to help us deal with complex situations, but we just aren’t very good at anticipating or predicting complexity.

So what happens we come to execute the plan and the actual circumstances of the world, don’t match those under which the plan was constructed?

Do we follow the dogma?

Do we follow the circumstances?

As painful as it may be to update the plan because of the costs involved (time to create, test, redistribute & re-communicate), these are the costs of acknowledging the reality: the plan is always flawed, it’s always a work in progress.

These are the costs we pay to avoid following dogma to our doom, or sacrificing the advantages of planning in the first place.